If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve met him before: Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill Restaurant in New York state. Barber captivated audiences in a 2008 TED Talk which recounts the most unconventional way in which the world’s finest foie gras is produced (please see “A Tale of Two Cities, by Mother Goose”). When in recent months NPR’s Salt interviewed Barber for a piece on eight row flint corn–an heirloom variety–it was with great interest that I listened to the piece.
The story of heirloom fruits and vegetables is the story of heritage meats, being their carnivorous equivalent. While each variety of heirloom fruit or vegetable (and each breed of heritage livestock) tells a story uniquely its own, there are common themes. And each time one of those themes represents itself, I get a sort of thrill. Keep an ear out for one such theme as you listen to “Reviving An Heirloom Corn That Packs More Flavor And Nutrition”:
That thrilling theme? When one pursues great flavor, one gets great nutrition. By going after food that delights the senses, one gets improved health and vitality. Heirloom vegetables and heritage meats turn on its head the adage “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” You can, my friends. You can.
In a conversation with Chef Angus Campbell of the Secchia Culinary Institute earlier this year, he opined what pork might taste like that fed on allspice berries and chocolate husks. That conversation–that way of thinking–I recalled when, while listening to this piece, I began to wonder: “Just what would pastured beef taste like that finished on eight row flint corn?”